Read the story of how the Canal & River Trust came to be
Work for us
We have vacancies across all of our waterways and in the offices, museums and attractions that support them. We're one of the UK's biggest charities and we take pride in everything we do
If you're thinking of getting in touch then please take a moment to look through these pages as we probably have the answer on our website
Planning & design
All you need to know about planning and design on our canals and rivers
Find a winter mooring
Find a cosy section of canal to hunker down in this winter
10 reasons to take up canoeing
It's a great way to get fit and explore our waterways at the same time
Share the Space
Take a look at our common sense guide to sharing the towpath
Find a place to fish
From reservoirs to club-managed canals and river stretches - find your nearest place to fish
Get your free guide
Download your free guide today and start exploring the waterway nature near you
Download your free guides
You've nine free days out guides to choose from - where will you go first?
Find a walk near you
Are you ready to ramble? Find a waterside stroll or a satisfying hike along our beautiful canals and rivers
Take a look at our upcoming events here.
Find your favourite waterway
With over 95 canals, rivers, reservoirs, docks and navigations, find out more about your favourite waterway
Something for everyone
Help us make a difference and have fun along the way. Find your perfect volunteer role today
Join our team
Could you join your local Towpath Taskforce team and help us to keep our canals looking lovely?
Desmond Family Canoe Trail
If you're aged 16-25 and would like to get involved with this exciting project, please get in touch
Could you be a volunteer lock keeper?
Find out what's involved with this popular volunteering opportunity
We love and care for your canals and rivers, because everyone deserves a place to escape.
Ask any group of coarse anglers which species they would most like to catch, and barbel (Barbus barbus) would be the choice of many. This bronzed fish is prized for its beauty and for its impressive resistance once hooked. Find out more about this fish.
"The powerful nature of this fish means a strong rod and line are a must."
Carl Nicholls, fisheries & angling manager
Appearance: usually golden bronze, fading to a creamy white on the belly. The fins are reddish brown, sometimes with an orange tinge. Very small barbel can often be confused with gudgeon, but the fact that barbel have four barbels around their mouth and gudgeon only have two makes them easy to tell apart.
British record: 21lb 1oz (British record committee 2015)
Lateral line scale count: 55-65 (this is the dark row of scales along the central length of the fishes body).
Lifespan: 15 to 20 years
We like barbel because: this bronzed fish is prized for its beauty, power and for its impressive resistance once hooked
How to catch a barbel
Barbel are primarily found in rivers, but they can be caught in the canal system in certain areas. A number of canals have a confluence with a river or are fed primarily by a river and in these areas it is highly possible that there are barbel present. The powerful nature of this fish means a strong rod and line are a must. It is not uncommon to use 10lb+ main line. The old style of fishing for barbel was a hemp laden swim feeder with a large piece of luncheon mean on the hook. While these tactics still work, modern thinking now uses bolt rig tactics and feeding using pellets on a hair rig.
Where to catch a barbel
The weir around the lock islands on the River Severn and River Trent hold good numbers of fish. The Kennet & Avon Canal in the Kintbury to Reading stretch is also worth a try.
Use our canal fisheries list to find a place to fish near you
Last date edited: 15 March 2018